27th December 2010

Clothed With Rejoicing

16th in a Series

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”
Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)

Have you noticed that there is an air of negativism in the world? Much of our passive entertainment, films and TV, is full of crime and violence, anger and deceit. Even our news programmes seem to focus on the negative. It’s as if something has to be negative to be newsworthy. This attitude is even permeating our sport: violence in cricket would you believe—so much for the ‘gentlemen’s game’!

This focus on the negative brings out the worst in us. It causes us to feel insecure, which in turn leads to pessimism and sometimes depression. Some begin to think they have nowhere to turn, that all is lost.

But for the Christian this should not be the case. Notice how the scriptures encourage us to be optimistic:
“…If God is for us who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)
“…he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
“And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.” (John 10 28-29)

What comforting assurance! With these words, inspired by our Saviour, how can we be anything but optimistic? And if optimistic how can we do anything but rejoice?

As we think about these words, the gloom lifts and things look much brighter than before. Little surprise, therefore, that the apostle Paul instructs us in this way: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

We can see where the apostle is coming from. He is suggesting that we can create our own world of optimism and rejoicing by what we allow into our minds. These thoughts keep us mindful of all that God is to us. Let us rejoice!

Prayer
Father in heaven, thank you for all the comfort you provide for us in this negative and difficult world. Thank you that you are the source of our optimism and rejoicing.
Amen

Study by David Stirk 

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